Huber Heights to expand Thomas Cloud Park by 9 acres

In a deal with a private developer, the city of Huber Heights will purchase 9 acres of property in Riverside for the expansion of Thomas Cloud Park.

Huber Heights City Council in June approved a purchase agreement with Oakes Tree Development for a parcel of land located adjacent to the park’s east edge. The acreage is situated just south of Longfellow Avenue near its intersection with Harshmanville Road.

Though the 9-acre parcel is within the boundaries of Riverside, it is currently only accessible via Harshmanville Road, which is owned by Huber Heights. The section of land to be purchased is part of a larger 31-acre parcel owned by Oakes Tree. The 9 acres are divided from the rest of the parcel roughly from north to south by a creek and surrounding trees.

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The unique placement of this 9-acre section prompted Oakes Tree to propose the sale to Huber Heights to avoid potential challenges for development with respect to the provision of basic governmental services by the city of Riverside, given that the sole access point is located within the jurisdiction of Huber Heights, documents state.

According to information from both cities, Oakes Tree has proposed to Riverside its intent to develop housing on the remaining 22 acres following the sale of the 9-acre section. Conceptual plans show this project may include construction of a pedestrian walkway/bridge to allow access from the new housing development across the creek into the extended Thomas Cloud Park.

Interim City Manager of Huber Heights Bryan Chodkowski said the acquisition will provide a benefit to both cities.

“This allows (Huber Heights) to grow the recreational space in our busiest park and limit the stress on our roadways while supporting our neighbor, the city of Riverside,” he said, noting that there are no detailed plans for the extended park space.

“In the short term, the lands will be held as passive recreation space,” Chodkowski said. “In the long term, we will work with our programming partners to identify specific activation of that space.”

Earlier this month, Riverside council approved a resolution in support of the expansion of Thomas Cloud Park.

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“(The city of Riverside) is not committing any money, we’re committing to being a good partner in the process if (Huber Heights) wants to pursue expanding the park and increasing access in the future for their residents and ours,” Riverside City Manager Joshua Rauch said during an Aug. 11 work session.

According to the purchase agreement, the price for purchase of the 9-acre parcel by Huber Heights will be determined via appraisal by a third party or by the developer’s proposed price of $18,000 per acre, whichever amount is greater.

Huber Heights will have five years from the date of the agreement to complete acquisition, with the purpose being to allow the city sufficient time and opportunity to apply for grant funding necessary to purchase the acreage. In the meantime, Huber Heights will make earnest deposit payments to Oakes Tree Development annually until the sale is finalized.

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